Man Overboard!

“Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?” Isaiah 50:2b

“Some teachers have all the luck,” shouted my colleagues good naturedly, as I drove away from the College with a busload of twenty year olds kitted out with their sun block and Ray Bans. The teachers were right. I was luckedy blessed. I’d been given the privilege of a week off from regular teaching duties in order to accompany the students on a five day, Ocean Sailing Academy, deck hand course.

A week of practical and theoretical instruction followed and each morning we had the thrill of sailing out of Durban harbour into the seemingly endless expanse of the Indian Ocean. Though there were many memorable moments I’ll not forget the emphasis placed on the drill we were to follow if someone fell into the sea. Time and again we would practice the man overboard routine. Our instructor made it obvious that the Sailing Academy placed an emphasis on the preservation of human life and wanted to be sure that if someone was in jeopardy then the crew would know how to save him/her.

However, even with all the practice, I would look at the heavy swell of the sea, turn away from the blinding spray, and wonder just how successful we would be if someone really did fall overboard. I had a measure of doubt because I know that people are fallible, that equipment doesn’t always perform as it should, and despite efforts people have been lost at sea and never found.

But there is one who never fails when we call on Him to save us. God “rescues and He saves” Daniel 6:27. “He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked” Jeremiah 20:13. And He rescues the poor, the oppressed, the distressed, and the weak, when they call out to Him (cf. Psalm 35:10; 72:14; 81:7; 82:4). For God’s arm isn’t too short and He doesn’t lack strength (cf. Isaiah 50:2). So if you need Him today, call out and the infallible Rescuer “will sustain you and … rescue you” Isaiah 46:4. As William F. McDowell says, “We are saved by a Person, and only by a Person, and only by one Person.”

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